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Late rallies partly save US shares' bacon

PeopleSoft neurotic, Symantec takes medicine like little soldier

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Thanks to late rallies, the Dow finished down 42 points to 7640 on Friday, and Nasdaq was down 5 to 1566, having been down 28 earlier. Trades on Friday were down to 619 million shares, compared with 744 million on Thursday. The SOX (Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Sector Index closed on Friday just below 200 and is now at about half of its level a year ago. However, things are not yet as bad as mid-1996 yet, when it bottomed at 160. TCI gained 2 3/8 to 36 1/8 while Sun put on 5.6 per cent to 42 11/16, following a buy rating from JP Morgan Securities; Cambridge Tech Partners lost 7 3/4 to 27 3.8 on worries about overseas earnings and a research report cutting its rating from attractive to buy. Microsoft lost 2 5/8, probably thanks to Judge Jackson's firm stand in court. On the week, Microsoft was 8 5/8 off, to 96 5/8, and Cisco was down 5 1/2. Lucent's good news about equipment contracts was ignored by the Street, while WorldCom was marked down $1.44 to $45.94 after the UK MD said he was leaving -- and perhaps some world turbulence. KPN, the privatised Dutch PTT, fell 1 1/2 to 36 1/4 when its regulator said it had to reduce call costs around 25 per cent. PeopleSoft became neurotic about nothing very much, held a conference call with financial analysts to say everything was on target, that those worries about the slowing of new software licences were not a concern, and that the company was winning sales against SAP. PeopleSoft was then marked up 1 3/8 to 30 15/16. Symantec drank its nasty medicine after its setback in the CyberMedia case, losing 1 1/8 to 19 1/8. Evidently investors had not listened when Gordon Eubanks said that Symantec was indemnified against any loss from the suit. ®

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